PROPHETIC WORD: JESUS CENTRES
Young people experience God
DISABLED TAKE THEIR PLACE
24 NATIONS TOGETHER
www.jesus.org.uk www.jesus.org.uk A UK JESUS PEOPLE MAGAZINE from the Multiply Network and Jesus Fellowship/modern JESUS army (mJa)
Jesus Life Three/2007 Page
Comment from the Jesus Fellowship Apostolic Team 3-4
Electronic Postbag Emails to the Jesus Army 8
The Prophetic Word
John Campbell explores the Jesus Fellowship’s vision for ‘Jesus Centres’ in UK cities.
Jesus Christ Changed My Life
Gary Riley overcame challenges of Asperger’s Syndrome and found his place in the Church.
News and features about the Jesus Centres in London, Coventry and Northampton 14-16
A secret of growth 23
Passion from the past
A vision of spiritual friendship 24
A challenge to radical living 29
Jesus Life hears from some of the Jesus Army’s youth 30
Rant and Rave
Anger and excitement from Jesus Fellowship members 31
A Mission Made Possible
John Naudé calls for disabled people to take their place in the Church.
Multiply Christian Network
Exciting stories from the delegates of the 2008 Multiply International Leaders Conference.
RAW: Real and Wild
A taste of the Jesus Fellowship’s youth event this Jesuslast Life August. Three/2008 Page
A gathering of radical women from the Jesus Fellowship.
The Jesus Fellowship Church, which is also known as the Jesus Army and includes the New Creation Christian Community, upholds the historic Christian faith, being reformed, evangelical and charismatic. It practises believer’s baptism and the New Testament reality of Christ’s Church; believing in Almighty God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit; in the full divinity, atoning death and bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ; in the Bible as God’s word, fully inspired by the Holy Spirit. This Church desires to witness to the Lordship of Jesus Christ over and in His Church; and, by holy character, righteous society and evangelical testimony to declare that Jesus Christ, Son of God, the only Saviour, is the way, the truth and the life, and through Him alone can we find and enter the kingdom of God. This church proclaims free grace, justification by faith in Christ and the sealing and sanctifying baptism in the Holy Spirit. © 2008 Jesus Fellowship Church, Nether Heyford, Northampton NN7 3LB, UK. Editor James Stacey. Reproduction in any form requires written permission. The Jesus Fellowship does not necessarily agree with all the views expressed in articles and interviews printed in this magazine. Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, a member of the Hodder headline Plc Group. All rights reserved. Photographs in this magazine are copyright Jesus Fellowship Church unless otherwise noted. The Jesus Fellowship is part of Multiply Christian Network. Both the Jesus Fellowship and Multiply Christian Network are members of the Evangelical Alliance UK. Jesus Fellowship Life Trust Registered Charity number 1107952.
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Comments from Noel Stanton and members of the Apostolic Team, Jesus Fellowship UK/mJa
Young Christians share their faith in London
Young people experience God O
Many are friendless, vulnerable and marginalised. Some join street gangs to find acceptance and friendship. Many are disappointed with a society which seems only to offer drugs, drink and sex to blot out or reduce their pain. Many often pray to God. They long for true acceptance with real, lasting, trusting friendships. Early in August we had a youth event called RAW (Real and Wild) (see pages 25-27) where many young people met Jesus. As I write we have just concluded our August Bank Holiday Festival Weekend where the Holy Spirit moved powerfully among us. All ages responded, but young people, some unchurched, were in the forefront of the big response. Some wanted to receive Jesus and experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Some poured out their hurts and found healing through the love of Jesus and the love of their new-found Christian friends. I believe UK young people are very open to experience Continued overleaf
N THE front cover you see a group of Jesus Fellowship young people, involved in the London Day action on Saturday 19 July when we had a big colourful march from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square. There we presented a very well-attended three-hour Jesus rally. I’ve been sent a copy of a study on religion which appeared recently in The Christian Today. The heading is “world’s youth more religious than reputed”. 35 per cent of young adults worldwide identify themselves as religious, including many who are unattached to a religious faith. Europe is the least religious of the continents, but in the UK younger people are said to be turning to faith more frequently then the older population. We find that unchurched young people are keen to experience God. They are searchers looking for life’s meaning who want to believe in and have a relationship with God. So many come from broken families, some are homeless, most are full of hurts and feelings of rejection.
HOW ABOUT breaking out of our routines and comfort zones and having a new beginning? When God baptised us in the Holy Spirit we discovered the powerful truth that we’re baptised – with all our differences – into one Body. Baptised into something. Baptised out of something. It was very clear. Out of. And into. We sing about being one heart. But we won’t find unity unless we gather together. People have their own lives, routines and nobody is allowed to challenge those. Things bind us and we don’t like being disturbed. Our own views – formed by whatever – will not change. But when the Spirit comes, our differences, fears, prides and insecurities have to go – we can’t work around these things. Now, the Holy Spirit says “Come back to your baptism and get free from these things that have crept back in and maybe didn’t go in the first place.” We’re meant to be people of unity, increase and fruit. But we don’t easily trust. Instead we reason and defend ourselves. No! We’re born again into the cause of the Spirit! We’re going to stay together and other things are not going to distract us. We’re baptised out of our many limitations so we can reflect and demonstrate one heart – so people can immediately see that we’re different. We sing “Praise my soul the King of Heaven”, then close the door and walk away. Is God rattling your door, saying “Are you going to trust Me?” He’s rattling on mine! We need to trust Him. If we don’t trust what reality have we? Let’s revisit our baptism and revisit our God and trust Him again. He will not fail us. Let’s explore the “into” of the Body of Christ. Then all will see a people who are hanging on the arm of God, very vulnerable but very trusting – and therefore very confident.
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repentance and faith in Jesus Christ today, and to find forgiveness of sins. They are willing to be introduced to the living, saving Jesus and to experience baptism in water and in the Holy Spirit. They look for reality and will be put off by
hypocrisy. They want to feel God moving on their emotions. They expect the presence of Holy Spirit power. They look for healing for their emotional pain and for victory over their addictive habits. And they want a church where they can enjoy loyal friendship in
The people’s church Steve Calam
WALKING in Hyde Park, London, I was struck by two of the memorials there. One was a memorial for Prince Albert which had been commissioned by his grieving widow, Queen Victoria, and opened in 1872. Up steep steps it stands, all pomp and grandeur: Gothic arches, over-the-top gilded magnificence, the ceremonially seated statue of Albert sitting within. The second memorial was the Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, opened in memory of Princess Diana in 2004. No steps, no statue; it is a fountain – and an unusual one. It lies close to the ground forming a channel of water so low down that children paddle in it.
The striking contrast between the two memorials made me think about the contrast between the two ages they represent – and, in particular, the difference between the British church in those two ages. In the past the church has been a proud institution, up steep steps, lofty, superior. Now the church is humbled, brought low, its position of influence and power having largely ebbed away. Yet in this humbling there is an opportunity. Diana was known as “the people’s princess”. There is a call for the church to be “the people’s church” – not proud, superior and inaccessible, but on people’s level and humble; a church that can hurt with the hurting and empathise with people’s uncertainty. A church for the age in which we live.
a true brotherhood with a cause to fight for and opportunities to use their abilities in the service of Jesus Christ, a church which welcomes everyone and which loves and serves the poor, the rejected, the sinful. They don’t want dull, formal, class religion
THE FINAL MIX OUR Multiply International Leaders Conference was attended by people from many nations. Twelve apostolic men for nations in Africa and for India and Myanmar are now appointed with nine from other nations being considered. We are glad to love and serve these men who endure pressure, poverty and persecution for Jesus’ sake. London Jesus Centre in the
West End was commissioned on 5 July. And we had record attendance at London Day on 19 July. The Annual Church Convocation in August stirred desire to see growth in all our 70 church households. Winning Weekend at the end of August had baptisms, healings, joyful laughter in the Spirit with many falling under the power.
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n o i t c a n i h c r u are ch John Campbell, Chairman of the Jesus Army Charitable Trust, shares a vision centred on Jesus.
Continued overleaf www.jesus.org.uk
HE CHRISTIAN Church has a vital role to play in the future of this nation. But it is far from clear whether it is actually going to play that part. The overwhelming majority of people in this nation have some awareness of a spiritual dimension to life, and for most of them that includes some belief in Jesus, and at least respect for Him. Yet the Church is so often seen as irrelevant and outdated. Long past is the time when a Sundays-only building held any credibility. In an age of total choice, the church must earn its right to be heard in the midst of the competing slogans of the marketplace. The public is looking for us to address the needs of real people in today’s society. That is a challenge we in this church are determined to rise to. Not for nothing are we called the modern Jesus army. Jesus Centres are the seven-day-a-week “shop window”
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came to the drop-in as an asylum seeker with no support, roofless and addicted to drugs. He got his basic needs met here and called it “home”. He stayed with a friend that he met there and got himself off drugs. He came along to a Jesus Fellowship meeting, became a Christian and was dramatically healed of serious stomach problems. The Jesus Centre got him into his own accommodation. Now Ali has become a trained valuable volunteer, working in the kitchen. Recently he also obtained an accreditation for literacy at the class which he has attended at the Jesus Centre for many months. His comment: “I am very happy.”
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of the church, located in prominent locations in large towns or cities. So far we have three centres – in Coventry, London and Northampton, with plans for Sheffield and Birmingham, and others expected to follow. Jesus Centres are places that reach out to the whole person – body, soul and spirit. They offer practical help such as showers and clean clothes; “capacity building” through services such as “New to UK” and classes in English for speakers of other languages; friendship and support through groups such as those for Mums and Tots, ex-prisoners or Scrabble players, as well as a community café. And above all, they offer a constant spiritual element, with a steady atmosphere of prayer and spiritual life, as well as hosting Jesus Fellowship events. The ethos of the Jesus Centre, as we have learnt to call it, is the spirit of Jesus – and of the Jesus Army. Undiluted. No more, no less. Jesus Centres show the heart of the church. More than that, they are the heart of this Church, staffed mainly by volunteers – several hundred of them, all from the Jesus Army. Over many years the Jesus Army has reached out to many, including lots of rootless and homeless young people. Many of them found a spiritual experience and new faith in Jesus bringing new hope. Many, too, tasted the lifestyle of Christian community. Although the friendship and support met many of their immediate needs, the discipline necessary for living with others – particularly in an overtly Christian manner, proved too much, and many drifted away. Over the same time, we found www.jesus.org.uk
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drinking at an early age and had developed a bad drinking problem, using alcohol to block out her bad memories. She first visited the Jesus Centre for advice and help to find accommodation and is now enrolled in two life skills courses. The Centre has changed Donna’s life and made her a stronger person; her friends there have given her the courage to start again.
was homeless, living rough and selling the Big Issue. He has visited the Jesus Centre for a long time. Sometimes he has fallen out with people there, but overall the friendship has survived. Jesus Centre volunteers took him to hospital when he was ill, visited him and picked him up on release and helped him get further medical help. Then they managed to get him into rented accommodation and have supported his tenancy, liaising with Housing Benefit and the landlord. Ian says the Jesus Centre has helped him a lot.
the ability to be a church that addressed body, soul and spirit, meeting practical necessities, meeting the human hunger for a righteous and godly society, and moving in Holy Spirit-given life and power. Jesus Centres have provided a means whereby we can bring the lessons and skills we have learned through life in Christian community into play, and help meet the very real needs of very real people – body, soul, and spirit. Just as in spiritual terms our range of membership styles mean that people can proceed at a pace that suits them, so the friendly, welcoming atmosphere of a Jesus Centre allows people to proceed at their own pace, selecting how much or how little they want to be involved with. Seeing what the Jesus Centres have achieved, and what they can achieve is exciting. So, too, is seeing the vision being put into practice. As the Jesus Centre in London opens, we are on the point of buying a property for one in Sheffield, and working on the practicalities of one in Birmingham. It has taken many years to get to this position; it will take another five years at least before we can open these next two Jesus Centres. Looking beyond those, we expect to open Jesus Centres in many other major towns and cities in the UK as the Jesus Army grows and spreads. We are committed to the long haul in our Jesus Centre vision. We’ve learned that to be effective, Jesus Centres depend on the numerical and spiritual strength of the local church and community and on its leadership. Overall the Jesus Centres depend on the financial strength of the church and community, which in turn depends on the well-being of our kingdom businesses which we have set up over the
years. And above all, they depend on our faith. Without God’s presence and blessing they are nothing. Many have found ministry in serving within the Centres, not least those with hidden ministries – ranging from washing up to effective administration and organisation. What has been particularly remarkable has been the way particular individuals, faced with new and different challenges, have come alive and delivered far beyond what they had seemed capable of before. It’s the Body of Christ in action. We have found that receiving prayer and receiving practical help can be equally valued by our visitors. Day-by-day, Jesus Centres are not places of tub-thumping preaching, but very definitely there are many deep one-to-one conversations and much spiritual input and progress. There has been plenty of pain and tears. These are places of stretching and dependence on God. We’ve found fellowship and friendship in working together; we’ve found encouragement in achieving and been surprised at the value of the friendship of poor and disadvantaged people. Interestingly enough, it has been our involvement with some of the most marginalised people in the UK that has taken us to a reception in Downing Street and an awards ceremony in the Houses of Parliament. Food for thought there! As we move forward into new Jesus Centres around the nation, we can look beyond the buildings and the activities to what is far more important, people being built together in spiritual and everlasting terms – in the Church of Jesus. JL
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READ MORE: More Prophetic Word articles at www.jesus.org.uk/propheticword
Names have been changed to protect confidentiality For more “Slices of Life” from the Jesus Centres visit www.jesuscentre.org.uk/slices
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CAMEROON IN WONDER
I AM the leader of a small Christian community in a small village. I came across a magazine talking about the Jesus Army. Some of the members of this small Christian community want to write to you to appreciate the good works of the Jesus Army. We have decided to spread the good works of the Jesus Army to the members of our congregation, and we would really love to hear from this wonderful church. Thanks, Tantoh Mcdesmond CAMEROON
WHEN I first wrote a letter to you requesting prayer, I had reached my end. Life became so unbearable that I was almost giving up. I thank God that despite the situation remaining the same I now have an inner peace and hope. That alone means a lot to me. May God bless you and continue using you. Keep praying! Michael Mbandi UK
I’M MUCH happier since I received your magazine, it is a huge blessing. It has helped me greatly and the church as a whole – many souls have been saved. After studying and reading the magazine we have managed to gain new members in the church. We glorify God for this. We also have a prayer request: that we may be able to establish an orphanage here in Kenya. Many children have parents who have died of AIDS/ HIV. I ask you to consider these orphans in your daily prayers. May the grace of the Lord be with you in full measure, Richard Kombo KENYA Jesus Life Three/2008 Page 8
lectronic ostbag firstname.lastname@example.org
NORTHERN IRISH PRAYER ABOUT SIX months ago a lady came into the shop where I work and handed me and my friend Mitchell your prayer cards. It’s a great encouragement to see people making an evangelistic effort in my area and I love the card itself as I have been able to show it to my non-Christian friends;
it explains a lot to them. I was wondering if it would be possible for you to send me a number of them as I would like to hand them out among people in work and elsewhere, it’s a great witness! Thanks, Ian Atkinson BANGOR NORTHERN IRELAND
VISITING YOUR website for the first time has been a revelation and a challenge. I am recently retired and searching for a way to live and serve as part of a community. The concept is not new to me, but the Jesus Army is. Please let me know more and how I can try this for myself. It seems too good to be true. Many thanks, Mark UK
I AM searching for a community where I can come and stay for a month or two to learn firsthand how a Christian community functions and how to start our own here in the Netherlands. Is this possible? Hope to hear from you soon. God’s blessings, Alicia THE NETHERLANDS
IF YOU’D LIKE TO SEND YOUR PRAYER REQUESTS, OR LET US KNOW WHAT GOD HAS BEEN DOING IN YOUR LIFE OR YOU’D LIKE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HIM EMAIL: INFO@JESUS.ORG.UK WRITE: JESUS FELLOWSHIP, NETHER HEYFORD, NORTHAMPTON NN7 3LB
GERMAN THANKS ANSWERED I WAS in Northampton about PRAYERS 20 years ago and I wanted to let you know that I’m still thankful that one of you prayed for me to get filled with the Holy Spirit. After 20 years I’m stronger than ever! Thanks for your ministry to me. Love and blessing, Markus GERMANY
PRAISE GOD for how great and amazing He is! I asked you to pray for my brother, Jimmy. He has found a stable job in Shanghai now. Thank you for your prayers. Warmest regards, Verun Hsu SINGAPORE
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Gary Riley: “Everyone who has a desire to reach God should have a place.”
Bullying and rejection at school, paganism at home, and a struggle with Asperger’s Syndrome to boot – but Gary Riley is winning. He tells Jesus Life why.
LEARNED pain early on,” Gary recalls. “At school, they tried to kill me.” Yet Gary’s life is no sob story. At 26 years old, he’s studying at University and he’s filled with vision for God. But learning to stand again after being knocked down so many times has been a fundamental lesson. “They jumped out on me and pushed me into the road in front of a moving car! I span round, clipped the wing mirror and ended up on the kerb. They ran off; I just continued walking to school. “Another time they tried to push me off a bridge. They picked on my twin brother, too, because he had Cerebral Palsy and I had to defend him. I found it hard to bond with people – it didn’t help having Asperger’s
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Syndrome, but I suppose, when you’re damaged, people pick on that.” Asperger’s Syndrome is a form of autism which means it is difficult to work out precisely what other people are communicating. For Gary it could have meant a life of trying, and often failing, to be accepted by others. Family life wasn’t any easier. Gary’s parents divorced early and, when his mum remarried, his new stepfather couldn’t handle Gary and his brother’s disabilities. “I got quite a few beatings from his hand and, when I was 14, I ran away,” he recalls. At this time Gary also rebelled against his parents’ faith. A normal teenage activity perhaps – but his family religion was pagan. His mum was a clairvoyant and, though his father had reservations, his grandfather was heavily involved in the occult. “I saw things that would make your hair curl,” he says. “As a child I was involved in initiation rites and practiced witchcraft, communing with spirits, predicting the future, healing people, walking invisibly. “But I was looking for something that my old faith didn’t have, something more than all the old hurts I’d known. I started to rebel against everything and decided to become a Christian.” Having ended up living with his Dad’s family, Gary joined a Christian group. “I liked it at first but then, when I read the Bible, what I saw didn’t tally up,” he recalls. “There were cliques within the group and power struggles. It seemed so unchristian. And there was no power behind it – not like I’d experienced before.” Gary did begin to gain a circle of friends, but rather than Christians they were the kind related to drink and drugs: “You couldn’t really call them friends – they took advantage of me, but they were the only friends I’d known. We’d get together to do dope or speed or pills. I got into dealing a bit.” But a “friend’s” suicide stopped Gary in his tracks. Three grams of cocaine led his colleague to walk out onto a dual carriageway. Gary found it hard to deal with and began to hate Christianity. Leaving home Gary went to Northampton to find himself some work. He got a room to himself but the isolation meant he was developing a phobia of people. He didn’t go out and spent a lot of time alone surfing the internet. “I felt a lot of hate. I was bitter and twisted Jesus Life Three/2008 Page 10
and took a perverse pleasure in going into Christian chat rooms and ripping Christians to shreds. It’s one of my biggest regrets. I probably turned one or two people away from God.” One day Gary received a chat room message which said, “You look like someone who needs a friend.” But Gary saw it as another opportunity to hurt a believer. “Every piece of information I got about this man I used against him – I insulted everything about him. But for all I tried, it didn’t matter, he just kept at it. Eventually he asked, ‘Are you prepared to be my friend now?’ I didn't know what else to say, so I said, ‘okay’. He started showing me how my pagan faith was wrong – the real truths behind the deceptions I’d learnt. And he showed me what real Christianity was about. “It’s amazing how you can read the Bible or go to churches and yet completely miss the point of what Christianity is all about. This man, Bob, phoned me up for about an hour and a half, and we talked about love, and I decided I wanted to give my life to Christ.” As they began to pray, Gary had to stop. “I got this buzzing in my head, like a swarm of bees. I couldn’t concentrate. I didn’t know what was happening.” Gary describes how his friend suddenly became authoritative and rebuked the demon affecting Gary down the phone. It was Gary’s first experience of the power of God. “It started to leave me, and as soon as it did, the buzzing went from my head, and I was able to finish praying.” Bob told Gary that he needed to find a church. But, tragically, it just felt like Gary’s previous attempt at Christianity. “I went to one church and sat at the back, but no one talked to me, no one shook my hand. I just left. I went back a few weeks later all dressed up and everyone wanted to know me. I felt sick.” Gary had almost given up on his search for real Christianity when he saw a Christian drama group performing on the streets. A man asked him if he knew Jesus and Gary had to admit that he really didn’t but that he wanted to. And so the man invited him back to his home – a houseful of Christians living together. This was an entirely different experience to Gary’s other attempts at church; life was centred on loving relationships and Gary found a spiritual family. It gave him the perfect opportunity to get to know Jesus for himself.
Jesus Fellowship Bristol Gary, together with three others from the Jesus Fellowship have now moved to Bristol and are holding regular meetings in the city. For details call 0845 123 5339 or email: email@example.com The Christian community offered a crucial lesson in acceptance for Gary. What he discovered was that no one is perfect and that we all make mistakes. “We’re all human, it’s in our nature to fail, but as long as we’re trying... Sometimes the old fears and hurts get in the way. But Jesus is always there, irrespective of how I’m feeling, I know that He loves me and I know I love Him.” Gary became part of a team who, twice a week, would sacrificially travel from the house in Northampton to Bristol to help form a church with Christians there. It costs him a lot: as a person with Asperger’s it’s not easy to get used to change. “We’ve been through hard times together, we’ve gained people, we’ve lost people, but we’re a family, and that’s very much what I want it to be,” he says. “I’ve spent most of my
I’ve spent most of my life being on the outside and now I’m a part of things life being on the outside and now I’m a part of things. I want it to be a place where everyone’s welcome. Everyone who has a desire to reach God should have a place.” Gary still finds that he has to maintain a good heart and quickly forgive when he is rebuffed by other Christians. But he’s determined not to give up: “I might have Asperger’s, but it’s okay to be me. I want to be someone who understands, who cares. University isn’t important. I want my life's work to be to reach people, to befriend them, to help them be the people they can be.” JL
Asperger’s Syndrome: more a difference than a disability Asperger’s Syndrome is a “hidden disability”; you can’t easily see it. It is a form of autism which affects a person’s communication, interaction and social imagination. For many, Asperger’s is simply a different way of looking at and dealing with the world around them. People with Asperger’s will often have above average intelligence. Research suggests a notable association with accomplishments in art, music, engineering, computer science, mathematics, and physics. Asperger’s Syndrome also seems to affect boys more than girls – there are perhaps as many as four males for every female with the condition. Famous people believed to have had Asperger’s include Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Jane Austen, Bill Gates, Bob Dylan, Michael Palin, Vincent Van Gogh and Woody Allen.
Gary on the Bristol waterfront. The Jesus Fellowship is starting a church in Bristol.
READ MORE: Find other people’s stories of how Jesus changed their life at www.jesus.org.uk/jcml
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A MISSION MADE POSSIBLE
Christian leader, John Naudé examines the relationship between the Church and disabled people.
ITHIN THE UK, 15 per cent of the population have a registered disability of some sort, but disabled people certainly do not make up 15 per cent of church congregations. Are we failing to reach them? When I say disabled people, it’s easy to assume that I’m talking about people who use wheelchairs. This is partly due to the influence of TV and to the fact that people in wheelchairs are easily recognised as being disabled. However, people who are hard of hearing or deaf are also disabled, as are those who have a visual impairment or are blind, plus of course people with a learning disability. Many of us can easily recognise these disabilities, but the term also includes those people with such hidden disabilities as epilepsy, arthritis, mental illness, dyslexia or even HIV/Aids. Disability affects all people regardless of gender, age, social standing and race. If disabled people are not part of the Church, we need to ask ourselves why. Does the Church work to include disabled people, or are they merely seen as recipients of our charity? Historically the Church has been instrumental in helping to change some of society’s responses to disabled people, but in today’s culture, it is the Church that is a long way behind society. As a society we often define people by their medical condition, even though in most cases we don’t know anything about it, or have a very limited experience of it. In seeing the person in this way, we seek to help them through prayer or healing services. Yet while some
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disabled people do indeed come seeking healing, we must not be so presumptuous as to assume what the healing is for. And we must never blame or accuse the person of a lack of faith if they are not healed. And there’s another problem: we tend to see them as people who don’t have a great deal to offer the body of Christ. We may ask them to pray, but neglect looking for other gifts that they may have. By seeing this condition as the thing that limits them, our urge is to help them fit in by trying to make them walk, stand, hear, see and so on. Disabled people call this the medical model of disability. But instead of seeing their medical condition as a problem, most disabled people have difficulties with the way society responds to their impairment. This would be called the social model of disability. For example, I have a physical disability which means that I use a wheelchair. The problems I face are often not related to the fact that I have a physical disability, but to the way society creates an environment that limits my involvement. People who use wheelchairs cannot enter buildings without steps. It is not using a wheelchair that limits them, but the steps of the building. The biggest problem disabled people face is that of attitudes. Many people say “we all have some kind of disability”, but most disabled people would respond by asking if you face any form of discrimination because of it. If I say I use a wheelchair, or if I had epilepsy, people may
If disabled people are not part of the Church, we need to ask ourselves why make assumptions of what I can or cannot do, which can mean they’ll think twice about considering whether to give me an interview (let alone a job). However, as a Christian, I think it is very limiting to say that our problems are all created by society. Disabled people have a role to play in helping change both our society and the Church. So some parts of the Christian disabled community have identified a third model, the relational model, which says that we are all made to be in relationship with God and with each other. We need God and each other to find our true identity. God created us in perfect relationship with Him. Then after the fall He sought to restore that relationship through the person of Jesus Christ. We are therefore created to be
in relationship with God. Yet it doesn’t end there. We have the gift of communication and we are in relationship with each other. There is a vertical and horizontal relationship: the vertical to God, the horizontal to each other. Disabled people are part of society and are created in God’s image, with gifts for His Church. We are a part of the body of Christ that the apostle Paul writes about in 1 Corinthians 12. We are not a broken part of the body being dragged along, but we contribute vitally, bringing the unique gifts that God has given each of us. The Church is really missing out on the huge contribution that disabled people can bring to God’s Church and His world. The Church has a mission to communicate the good news of Jesus Christ to all people. But I would say that it is failing by not even considering disabled people, who need to hear that they are accepted and welcomed by a God who recognises that we are separated from Him due to our sin, not our disability. So our mission is to open our doors and hearts and welcome disabled people into our churches. Rather than just looking at the difficulties of making our churches more accessible, we must recognise that our attitudes can prevent the good news of Jesus Christ being heard. We have a mission, a mission made possible because of Jesus’ love for each and every one of us. JL This article was first published in Idea, the magazine of the Evangelical Alliance, used with permission.
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J e s u s WHAT ARE JESUS CENTRES?
WHAT DO THEY OFFER?
WHO RUNS THEM?
The Jesus Army Charitable Trust (JACT). Staff and volunteers come from Jesus Fellowship Church.
WHERE ARE THEY?
Coventry, Northampton and central London. Plans are afoot for further Jesus Centres, first in Sheffield (2009-10) and then Birmingham. Eventually Jesus Centres will be found in other places around the UK.
London Jesus Centre OPENS ITS DOORS
Places where the love of Jesus is expressed daily in worship, care and friendship for every type of person.
All sorts, including showers, friendship, a listening ear, IT classes and food. They also act as a ‘gateway’ to other services and agencies.
C e n t r e s
Minutes from the mania of Oxford Circus, the Jesus Fellowship’s third Jesus Centre has opened in London.
T JUST gone 10am on Monday 23 June, volunteer Tanya Willison cut the ribbon at the Marylebone Passage entrance to declare the London Jesus Centre open. “God gave me an honour to do that,” said Tanya. “It’s good to make a legacy in your life.” With one visitor already waiting for the Welcome drop-in, it was soon business as usual as word spread and others began to turn up for showers, storage, food, friendship and more,
while downstairs in the Word tea room one first-day visitor’s comment was: “Lovely service, lovely soup. I’m gonna be a regular. Where’s the bowl for tips?” Two weeks later, representatives from Jesus Fellowship churches as far away as Leeds crammed the upstairs chapel on 5 July to commission the building, a former Anglican convent, “as a place for Christian community, worship and care.” Unlike the two other
HOW CAN I HELP?
We always need money, old clothes, food and lots more! Check out the website for details.
Welcome: London Jesus Centre is now open
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London Jesus Centre is minutes away from Oxford Circus
Jesus Centres, the London one has a 30-member community house, Battlecentre, attached – it’s truly 24/7 church. In its first month of opening, the London Jesus Centre welcomed over 50 different people to the drop-in, with an average of 15 visitors per day. Sixty-six lots of clothing were given out, 181 meals served, and 19 lots of laundry done.
Meanwhile, the Word tea room was seeing a steady increase in business week on week, with many customers becoming regulars. Says Rob Bentley, Centre Manager: “We want the London Jesus Centre to be a centre of the Jesus Revolution, where Jesus Revolution workers help people have a personal Jesus Revolution so they can join in the shared Jesus Revolution.”
Some of the team at London Jesus Centre
THE STUDENT AND VOLUNTEER From conversation classes to Christian discipleship. JIN SHIL UM comes from Korea. She started conversation classes in the London Jesus Centre in May, the following month began volunteering herself in the Word tea room, and now she’s moved in to the Battlecentre community house to start an mJa Training Year. “I had never seen Christian people living together, sharing all things. It looks very beautiful and I think it is very close to Jesus’ way. Many Christian people say they want to follow Jesus, but not really in action. I think the community house is a very good base. It’s like a greenhouse – more concentrated – where I can grow up more as a Christian. “In conversation
class we learn lifestyle and common expression. Every time Mhairi prepares a situation or subject and we concentrate on that. When we talk together we get to know each other more every week and we know about each other’s country and culture, and English culture too. One lady already got a job because she now has more confidence in her English. “Now I live in London and my church is the Jesus Fellowship. I volunteer in the Jesus Centre – it’s the natural thing to do. “God has showed me how people can live in the world together helping each other.”
ALL-ROUNDER ROGER IS THROWN IN AT THE
DEEP END Roger Weeks gave up his own building business to become the Facilities Supervisor at London Jesus Centre. EVERY DAY Roger commutes 1½ hours each way from his home in south-east London. “The first person able to identify my job was a 12-year-old who said, ‘You’re going to be the caretaker then!’ Maintenance, servicing equipment, getting rooms equipped for groups, cleaning, security, health and safety, fire safety – if it’s not someone else’s job, it’s mine. Christ said He came to serve. If you want to lead, you’ve got to be able to serve with the love that comes from God. “Right from when I left school, each job has been totally different and adds to my range of skills and abilities. Some people think I can do anything; I can’t. God’s still working on me! “The mJa throws you in at deep end – but it’s okay because the leaders jump in with you and help you swim. “Now the Centre’s open it’s no longer just a place to come to work, it’s a place that’s alive. I see people looking at it big-eyed, saying ‘You’ve got all of this’ – the ESOL and conversation classes, the tea room, the guys coming in to the drop-in. “I’d like to lead a craft group in woodcraft, ceramics or mosaics – either I’ve got skills or I know people who have. And I’d like to see the Centre full all the time. That will cause me its own problems, but that’s what I want!” Roger working hard at London Jesus Centre
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J e s u s
C e n t r e s
Continued from previous page
‘Something simple and real’ That’s what Sid found at Northampton Jesus Centre when he’d lost everything else. SID’S FATHER died in 1958 when Sid was six months old. “Dad had been a Catholic and after his death I went to a Catholic school in London run by monks. I learnt early on that anything ‘religious’ meant pain and confusion. Pain because the brothers meted out such unrelenting beatings. Confusion because when they weren’t beating us they were such calm people. How could they be both, my child’s mind wondered?” With no wage-earner in the house, extreme poverty hit the family. Sid was one of six children and keeping them all fed and clothed properly soon became impossible. Most of the time the children were kept at home and Sid only began to learn to read and write when he was fifteen. Because of the poverty he’d experienced as a child, Sid grew up believing that life revolved round material things. He got to university thinking it would mean he could have all the goodies that he and his brothers and sisters had longed for as children. But, when he got them – qualification and a professional job – he was shocked to find they didn’t make any difference to the emptiness he felt inside. Not long after this Sid became ill with glandular fever and had to take so much time off work that, eventually, he was made redundant. “Six years of heavy drinking followed until my doctor warned me I was killing myself. He said with the amount I was drinking I was lucky to be alive – he couldn’t believe I hadn’t already damaged my liver. Actually,
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I’d given him an edited idea of how much I was drinking – the reality was much worse. “I didn’t stop – even when my partner said that if I didn’t get help I would come home one day and find my bag packed on the doorstep. Well, I didn’t stop and when I came home, there was my bag. “The next eighteen months I was lost – drinking heavily, sleeping rough, travelling from city to city – completely reckless – odd, given that before I had been a dedicated and seemingly professional man. “Late one night in 2003, on a street in Northampton, I met two lads – both called Gary. In the pouring rain they sat down with me and gave me a corned beef sandwich and some mushroom soup which was good – until they mentioned God. “At that point I said goodnight and walked away. But I was touched by these two strange men who walked the streets in the night giving out food. “The following day I noticed a converted shop called ‘Jesus Centre Pilot Project’. Inside I met two women called Polly and Yvonne and an assorted band of rogues with cuts and bruises, black eyes and so on. I felt quite at home! “For some months I found myself being pulled back to this place and wanted more. Not the endless cups of tea but something there that was simple and real. “How do you define ‘simple and real’? You don’t – it just is. And I’d just found it! Five years on – here I am, living in what I found that night – part of a loving Christian
Above: Sid found a new start through the Jesus Centre. Left: Northampton Jesus Centre which used to be a cinema.
community. “There’s a song about Jesus that we often sing that’s got the line it ‘Your loveliness is changing my ugliness’. That line means a lot JL to me!”
Multiply Christian Network
Joining hands across nations: the Multiply International Leaders Conference
WHAT IS MULTIPLY?
Multiply Christian Network is a worldwide apostolic stream of churches, initiated by Jesus Fellowship Church. It is a member of the Evangelical Alliance UK. Multiply now has 18 UK groups and 105 worldwide.
WHO’S IT FOR?
Any fellowship, of any size, from any culture or race, as long as it is basically evangelical. The latest partner to join was Living Water Church, a Congolese Frenchspeaking church based in Gloucester, UK.
WHAT DOES IT OFFER?
Delegates came from 24 different nations to this year’s Multiply International Leaders Conference. Jesus Life heard some of their stories.
Y LOVE they will know you are My disciples.” Easy to say, hard to do when it comes to crossing global national and cultural divides – but such unity formed the mainspring of the fourth Multiply International Leadership Conference held in the UK in June this year. Delegates from 24 different nations enjoyed a whistle-stop introduction to a culture of Christian community, brotherhood, kingdom businesses, love for the poor and much more. A few of them, from as far aﬁeld as war-torn Rwanda and ex-communist Russia and Mongolia, share their experiences with Jesus Life. Continued overleaf
Relationships between leaders are central and are fostered through regular conferences, celebration gatherings and fellowship. Leadership and evangelism training plus a variety of resources, including free literature, are also available.
THE WINNING TEAM
www.multiply.org.uk Contact Multiply Director Huw Lewis Tel: +44 1327 344533 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to: Jesus Fellowship/ Multiply Central Offices, Nether Heyford, Northampton, UK NN7 3LB
All smiles. Above right: Andrew Mwagale from Uganda. Below left: Rukara Barthelemy (centre) with delegates from Angola. Below right: Chinzo Jigjidsuren and Aruna Garidkhuu from Mongolia
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Continued from previous page
THE JESUS TRIBESMAN Rwandan Rukara Barthelemy is better known by his nickname Rukundo (“Love”). His passion is to carry the gospel of love wherever he goes. Yet his past had told a very different story. One Heart: Rukara with Andy Stockley, a Jesus Fellowship senior leader, at this year’s Multiply Conference
BORN IN 1957, Rukundo has spent most of his life in the troubled central African country of Rwanda where he has experienced ﬁrsthand the ﬁerce animosity that exists between the two tribal factions of the country, the Tutsis (of which he is one) and the Hutus. Rukundo recalls: “Living constantly within a situation of such intense conﬂict and growing up being treated badly because I was a Tutsi affected the way I looked at God. ‘Why God,’ I asked, ‘do You accept hatred and killing? If You are good, if You are love, if You are God Almighty, why do You let people be like this?’ These thoughts led me to doubt God’s existence. “I thought all the problems I had in life were because I was a Tutsi. I hated the Hutus and felt I would be safe without them.” Hostility between the Hutus and Tutsis ﬂared in 1990, culminating in the 1994 Rwandan genocide when extremist Hutus rose against Tutsis and moderate Hutus. In 1994, between April and June, it is estimated that
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over three-quarters of a million Rwandans were massacred. Rukundo meanwhile had ﬂed to Uganda and, while at a crusade, had given his life to Jesus. Yet still he wrestled with the same question about suffering. It was now, while still ﬂeeing the strife that was tearing his country apart, that Rukundo heard for the ﬁrst time in his life the audible voice of God: “You were part of the problem, now you are part of the solution.” “God revealed to me how bad I was!” Rukundo continues. “Now
You were part of the problem, now you are part of the solution
I understood people because I understood myself. I began forgiving everyone. This changed everything. I had been full of hatred toward the Hutus. Now I could look at every Hutu and say, ‘they are my problem!’ I realised that we all need Jesus and we all need changing. Now I knew – I could be part of the solution!” Rukundo’s understanding – indeed his whole life – had undergone a revolution and now, a few months later while in Nairobi, he heard God speak audibly to him once again: “The solution is in the Church.” “I turned to the Bible and, as I read about the ﬁrst believers in the book of Acts, I suddenly saw it – ‘this is the Church!’ I found out that the huge division the early Church faced was between Jews and Gentiles – it was just like the division between the Tutsis and the Hutus. Yet Jews and Gentiles all became one. “I returned to Rwanda and spoke to people about my discovery but it was not until 1997 that I met eight young people and they understood what I was
saying. Together we formed a little church family. Very slowly we began to be accepted and our church became known as the ‘Disciples of Jesus.’ Today it has about 50 members.” Rukundo’s vision is to bring healing and reconciliation to his land. In 2007 he helped found a group called “One heart One mind”, an organisation bringing together 127 people from different churches whose united message is the same: forgiveness and reconciliation must begin in the Church, where both Tutsis and Hutus are called to live in harmony as members of one Body of Christ. It was an exciting discovery for Rukundo to hear about and join the Multiply network of churches as he feels that the vision the network carries is so similar to that of the movement he belongs to and a mutual strengthening can take place. “There have been two warring tribes in Rwanda,” concludes Rukundo. “Now we need a third tribe to bring peace – the Jesus tribe!”
A I S S RU
NEW HORIZONS “THE FALL of communism wasn’t a one-day event, it was a process,” Andrei Blinkov says. “When the ﬁnal collapse came in 1991, I was 19 and Irina, now my wife, was 16. Neither of us had any experience of Christianity or any other aspect of the supernatural – for both of us ﬁnding Christianity was a process, too!” The young couple now run Revival Centre in the northern suburbs of Moscow where drug addicts and alcoholics are ministered to in a residential setting based on three wooden cabins. With three young ministers and the cooperation of Agape Pentecostal Church with its 50 members, the centre was opened in February 2006. Since then more than 40 addicts have been through the rehabilitation programme. It is the power of the Holy Spirit to help withdrawal from drugs that accounts for much of their success. Out of the 34 people baptised into the
“I realised just how much God can do, but that He can only work with people who are open enough to let God turn them upside down” Andrei Blinkov and Irina Blinkova run a rehabilitation centre, Revival Centre in Moscow, Russia.
church over the past two years the majority have come through the Revival Centre. In 2006 Andrei was invited by a friend to one of the Jesus Fellowship’s Marquee Festivals. He found such blessing that he brought Irina with him to the Multiply International Leaders Conference two years later. “Our special moment at the conference was when one of the brothers who set up the Northampton Jesus Centre took us up onto its roof to look down on the city,” says Andrei. “He explained that everything God was doing through the
Centre – through the community and the church businesses, through evangelism – had all come from the vision of just a handful of people. It was at this point that I realised just how much God can do, but that He can only work with people who are open enough to let God turn them upside down.” Andrei considers his country’s political history and how this affects people’s attitude to radical Christianity: “Communism was designed for economic reasons with ‘all things in common’ in mind – but it didn’t work. It meant ﬁve families sharing
one kitchen and one bathroom – and all hating each other! “As a result, looking at it logically, I ﬁnd it hard to think that Christian community living – and sharing money and businesses together – will be acceptable to Russians. Yet I had heard that UK people are naturally very stiff and formal so I wouldn’t have expected to meet anything like Jesus Fellowship and its community in the UK. Maybe if it is possible in the UK it is possible in Russia! Seeing what God has done through Jesus Fellowship has opened new horizons for us.”
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United we win ANDREW MWAGALE leads All Nations Christian Centre of Life in Jinja, Uganda. Attending Andrew Mwagale the Multiply International Leaders Conference was his ﬁrst time in the UK. “I’ve been sharpened by my time here,” he says. “What I see is Multiply is TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More. Because you achieve, now everyone is achieving more, - more of the abundant life, more of the Holy Spirit, more of the peace, more of the joy. They’re experiencing LOVE. It’s so good, love – it’s my ﬁrst time to stay with whites, and the love I’ve seen here is so tremendous. “My ﬁrst step when I get back to Uganda will be to emphasise the goodness of being one. United we overcome. United we win. United we break through. United we explode! If we become a team, then we multiply. If Christians in Uganda can come together, I think we can do something big.”
United we break through. United we explode! Jesus Life Three/2008 Page 20
Chinzo and Aruna (front right) at Living Faith in Oxford
True community MONGOLIANS Chinzo Jigjidsuren and Aruna Garidkhuu stayed with their niece Anuu at Living Faith, the Jesus Fellowship house in Oxford – a taste of community which Aruna describes as “heaven on earth”. Like the Blinkovs, they grew up under a communist regime, and with the breakdown of the system, they too found freedom and faith. Now they lead Immanuel Church in Ulan Bator, which emphasises through cell groups the importance of true, deep, accountable relationships.
Communities in all their variety show the image of God
Aruna reﬂects on the difference between the political ideals of communism and true love in the kingdom of God: “Marx, Engels, Lenin – they tried to build communism but there was no God there and that’s why it didn’t work. But true community has God as its head, and prospers because it’s God’s will.” “It’s God’s will,” adds Chinzo, “because He is Father, Son and Spirit; community is the lifestyle that God wants to use to spread His image throughout the nations. It’s not one person carrying the image of
God, but communities in all their variety that show the image of God. The kingdom of God is true community.” Aruna adds: “The Jesus Army is now in its current situation not because of building, money or other materialistic things but because of unity, relationships and love for each other.” “We talk about essence,” concludes Chinzo. “If you have essence, then other things will be added.” Now a group of young people from Chinzo and Aruna’s church are planning to start a community.
A I D IN I myself feel that what I was doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop
THE NEXT MULTIPLY LEADERS CONFERENCES
Colney in the UK last year
Tears are all I have to give Lalrodinga Colney from India, one of the Multiply apostolic men, was unable to attend the Conference because he was asked by a US relief organisation to help in Burma following the deadly Cyclone Nargis in May. Colney himself reports for Jesus Life.
came a pastor. But on that fateful night pastor and son, along with most of the believers, died. Mrs Maung Bay survived as she was visiting relatives in Yangon at that time. Now she is alone without family or home. Unfortunately the Government of Myanmar denied the US relief organisation their visa. So I was left alone to do an operation surrounded by thousands of dying people with only a few rupees which the Jesus Army of Mizoram sacriﬁced from their food supply and a gift from a Canadian friend. But I had one advantage in that the military government could not recognise me as a foreigner because my appearance was like them, and so I was able to help secretly without any hindrance. Two months after the disaster, there are still an estimated 2.4 million survivors in need of aid. According to Red Cross at least one and a half million
END OF MAY
email FOR MORE INFO
brotherhood Continued overleaf
Exhausted cyclone survivors in Burma
“CYCLONE NARGIS swept across Myanmar on 2 and 3 May, creating a huge tidal wave that killed an estimated 138,000 people and devastated the Irrawaddy Delta region. When I landed in the biggest city, Yangon. which was once a great city, homes were ﬂattened, trees uprooted, power lines downed and sturdy structures damaged. The next day I started surveying the area. What I saw I will never forget. Large numbers of dead bodies were still to be seen ﬂoating in water without anyone’s care. And the living people were crying out for drinking water and a piece of bread. Many Christians were also affected. Pastor Thra Maung Bay became a Christian in 1992. He was interrogated, tortured and sent to prison because of his faith. His son went to Bible College and after graduation be-
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V V V V V
Continued from previous page
cyclone survivors remain homeless, many of them hungry, weak, ailing or exhausted. I myself feel that what I was doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. What hurts me most is that these people are not introduced to the God to whom they can hold on in the times of crisis.
There are many orphans who have lost their parents. There are many children who need comfort. With some of the Jesus Army leaders from Mizoram I will visit these people. If you are interested, write to us and we will let you know how you can be part of this life-saving operation. I can’t give anything except my tears.”
MULTIPLY CHURCHES AND GROUPS MEET ALL OVER THE UK RING UP AND FIND OUT WHAT’S GOING ON IN YOUR AREA! BELFAST Jesus Fellowship Church ___________________0845 123 5552 BIRMINGHAM Jesus Fellowship Church ______________0845 166 8153 BLACKBURN Hyndburn Christian Fellowship __________01706 222 401 BLACKBURN Rishton Christian Fellowship____________ 01254 887790 BOURNEMOUTH Jesus Fellowship Church ____________0845 123 5558 BRIDGEND The Bridge Community Church____________ 01656 655635 BRIGHTON Jesus Fellowship Church _________________0845 166 8151 BRISTOL Jesus Fellowship Church___________________0845 123 5339 CHATHAM House Of Prayer For All Nations ___________ 01634 669933
Christians persecuted in India A horrific outbreak of persecution against Christians is underway in India.
For more information on how you can pray or help suffering Christians in Orissa, email Multiply Director Huw Lewis: email@example.com
CHESTER/NORTH WALES Jesus Fellowship Church ____0845 123 5561 CORNWALL Jesus Fellowship Church ________________0845 166 9191 COVENTRY Jesus Fellowship Church _________________0845 166 8154
REPORTS CAME to the UK of a has claimed responsibility, but horriﬁc outbreak of persecution extremist Hindu groups are usagainst Christians in India. The ing the murder as an excuse to worst of the violence is concenterrorize Christians. JL trated around Orissa, the state on the east coast of India in which Multiply apostolic leader, Colney, is based. Multiply International Colney provided the following Leaders Conference 08 harrowing details: “Thousands Delegates from: of believers are now homeless, taking shelter either in jungle or ANGO RIA LA NIGE in relief camps. Many have been BHUTA burnt alive. Houses are ranTAN N PAKIS sacked, damaged or destroyed, BURU IA churches are burnt down. ChrisNDI RUSS tian villages are desolated and CONG DA Christians are ﬂeeing with their O RUAN E C families, suffering without food, ÔTE D’I LEON VOIRE RRA E I S water, clothes and shelter.” A 50 Christians are believed to AFRIC GAMB UTH I O A S have lost their lives. 600 church GERM buildings are reported to have ANY SPAIN been destroyed and a staggering EN GHAN 4,000 homes. 30,000 Christians A SWED are now in relief camps. AND ZERL INDIA The violence began when a local SWIT Hindu extremist was murdered. DA ITALY UGAN A Maoist (Communist) group
CHATHAM King’s Church Medway____________________ 01634 847477
EXETER Jesus Fellowship Church ____________________0845 833 5602 GLOUCESTER Living Word Fellowship ________________01452 532 138 HASTINGS Jesus Fellowship Church__________________0845 123 5551 HIGH WYCOMBE Church of Shalom __________________ 01494 449408 IPSWICH Jesus Fellowship Church ___________________0845 166 8156 KETTERING Jesus Fellowship Church_________________0845 166 8157 LEEDS Jesus Fellowship Church _____________________0845 166 8167 LEICESTER Jesus Fellowship Church _________________0845 644 9705 LIVERPOOL Jesus Fellowship Church ________________0845 166 8168 LONDON Jesus Fellowship Church ___________________0845 166 8152 LONDON N Glad Tidings Evangelical Church __________020 8245 9002 LONDON S Bible Life Family Ministries _______________020 8689 2244 LONDON SE Ephratah Int’l Gospel Praise Centre ______020 8469 0047 LONDON SE Flaming Evangelical Ministries __________020 8694 2083 LONDON SE Glorious Revival Eagle Ministries _____020 8855 3087 LONDON SE Mission Together for Christ _____________020 7401 2687 MANCHESTER Jesus Fellowship Church ______________0845 166 8169 MILTON KEYNES Jesus Fellowship Church ____________0845 166 8159 NORTHAMPTON Jesus Fellowship Church ____________0845 166 8161 NORWICH Jesus Fellowship Church __________________0845 166 8162 NOTTINGHAM Jesus Fellowship Church_______________0845 166 8163 OXFORD Jesus Fellowship Church ___________________0845 166 8164 PRESTON Jesus Fellowship Church __________________0845 123 5554
AB ED AR UNIT ATES EMIR
RAMSEY HOLLOW (HUNTS) Christians United _________ 01487 815528
STOKE-ON-TRENT Jesus Fellowship Church ___________0845 123 5334
SHEFFIELD Jesus Fellowship Church _________________0845 166 8183 SWANSEA Jesus Fellowship Church__________________0845 123 5556 WALSALL Jesus Fellowship Church __________________0845 123 5563
Jesus Life Three/2008 Page 22
WOLVERHAMPTON Jesus Fellowship Church _________0845 123 5564 www.multiply.org.uk
WORCESTER Jesus Fellowship Church _______________0845 833 5601
the cell group secret of growth
Three Jesus Fellowship members share how cell groups have enabled them to grow the church.
STARTED a cell group about two months ago. We meet at the home of an African woman called Regine. We invited a mum and her two teenage daughters and the first group was good even though we were nervous. And the next week we had two new people come along, which was encouraging. We all felt the Spirit moving – it was quite electric. “It’s all rather interesting, as I have always found leading a group difficult, but I have surrendered it to God, and He has really helped me. We have always started with worship, which has been so helpful; it brings the right atmosphere. “The second week of our new cell group gave me the opportunity to be with Regine the “hostess” on my own to find out her heart in it all. We both realised that we longed for the same things in God, and we prayed a lot about the group together.” Sandy Pemberton STOKE-ON-TRENT
All shapes and sizes: when one Czech Romany family in Birmingham invited their family and friends, their cell group rapidly expanded
“Our cell group started because a couple of women started a coffee morning: they made lots of friends through it. Some of these people came along to a ‘New Friends Course’ (a course that explains our basic Christian beliefs). Our cell group sprung from this. (And those women still hold their coffee mornings!) “Two members of our cell group have been baptised this year. We meet at a church member’s house, which is good because it means we can include everyone; everyone can take part!” Laurence Cooper COVENTRY “At first our cell group consisted of just me and my wife, Janet! We went around the local area praying. “Not long after, someone we knew moved to the area and so there were three of us in the cell group. Since then we’ve grown to 14 members. “This year our cell group divided twice: firstly three men formed a new group; secondly my wife Janet left to form a women’s group – more of a nurturing group as some of the girls are quite young. “We take it in turn to lead the group so everyone can contribute.” Kevin Piper BIRMINGHAM JL Jesus Life Three/2008 Page 23
Monk shows what friendship really is W
Trevor Saxby explores the stirring insights of a 12th century Yorkshire monk.
E LIVE in an age of relationship breakdown. People dream of finding their “soul mate”, but all too often it proves to be a mirage. Where can you turn for sound advice? Maybe the last person you’d think of would be a 12th century celibate monk! But Aelred’s book, Spiritual Friendship, is as courageous and relevant today as it was in the 1150s. “It is a great consolation,” writes Aelred, “in this life to have someone you can unite with in an intimate affection; someone in whom your spirit can rest, to whom you can pour out your soul, who will bear with the weariness of your anxieties and search out with you the answers to your problems.” Aelred spent his whole life exploring the subject of brotherly love. As a young man at the royal court he felt a strong attachment to friends and happily spent hours in their company. Then he joined a monastic movement called the Cistercians, which was growing fast in western Europe. They had energy and vision, and enjoyed praising God. Their founder used to say “The best way to know God is to love Him”, and love was the flavour of all they did. Aelred’s ability to love and to join people together was soon noticed and he was made abbot of a monastery at Rievaulx in
Jesus Life Three/2008 Page 24
Love can be a woolly concept... all shallow and self-centred Yorkshire. By the time he died in 1167 it had grown amazingly, to 600 members. Aelred taught and wrote about friendship. He saw that love can be a woolly concept. People claim to have it, and to have friends, but in reality it is all shallow and self-centred. Daringly, he changes the well-known “God is love” to “God is friendship”. The way God relates to us through Jesus is the model for all relationships. Jesus, our pattern in all things, had His friends, like Martha, Mary and Lazarus; one is referred to as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 21:20). Even the marriage of man and wife is modelled on the lovebond between Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:32). So, if we are to love one another in the way Jesus meant, love must go deep. We must become true heart-friends. Once chosen, such a friend deserves the best we can offer. “One must care for one’s friend, pray for him, grieve for
his faults, support him when he is feeble, console him in sorrow, restrain him when he is angry, and correct him with love,” writes Aelred. Aelred teaches that we grow closer to God through such quality friendships, for we sense more of His own heart. On the other hand, “anyone without a friend is abandoned indeed”. Aelred admits that even friendship must be tested, to see if it is truly “new creation” and not simply old-nature emotion. He encourages the brothers to delight in each other’s company and to show affection (in all modesty). But he also stresses that friendship takes effort. After all, God might lead us to someone very different from ourself. Aelred flags up four key qualities: loyalty, discretion, patience and right intentions, all of which can be learned through the Holy Spirit and by practice. Today, relationships are an “in” topic. “How-to” guides come and go. But probably none can match the inner honesty, happy warmth and visionary hope of this 12th century Yorkshire monk. JL
READ MORE: More stories of the church’s passionate past at: www.jesus.org.uk/revival
Living, loving, leading: RAW 08
RAW 08 was the Jesus Fellowship’s high-octane youth event. One of the young people who was there, Amy Williams, reports for Jesus Life.
Jesus turned the rules and traditions of religion upside down and started a revolution RAW (Real and Wild) 2008 gathered young people from around the country, with one thing in common: wanting a real experience of God’s wild power. Last year was the first RAW event, held at the beginning of August: the flavour “the real Jesus” – getting to know Him – and “His wild
church” – going deep with each other. This year’s focus was on “RAW without walls” – taking down the walls between us and the people around us who don’t know Jesus. The idea was to take RAW to the streets, to practise what we were being taught. In the mornings we chose from a variety
Jesus Life Three/2008 Page 25
Continued from previous page
of workshops covering different topics such as “The call to give your all,” where we learnt about Jesus as someone who turned the rules and traditions of religion upside down and started a revolution. The afternoons were times of practical training, splitting into teams (each with their own name – anything from the inspirational “Street Lights” to the odder “Tea Break” and the downright strange “You should see its Dad”). The teams headed into different areas around Northampton. Some helped out on the estates, litter picking and cleaning, painting murals: showing Jesus’ love in action. Some stayed at the RAW event’s “Chill-out Zone” welcoming new people and helping people feel comfortable, while some created a scene in the high street of Northampton, showing people what we were about. The rest spread around the town, asking young people about their
“My highlight of RAW has been being with so many people and experiencing God’s power with them. I enjoyed all the evangelism; bringing people to God - it’s amazing. The atmosphere is beautiful.”
views on God and inviting them back to the event in the evening. The evening events had many powerful “God moments” – worship, prayer, demos and dramas. A theme unfolded: first “The Cross with Jesus on it” – discovering the true meaning of Jesus’ sacrifice for us; next “The Cross without Jesus on it” – how to live in Jesus’ resurrection power; then “The Cross with you on it” – facing the future and whether we were prepared to live Jesus’ call to “take up the Cross and follow”. Lives were changed during “RAW”. Many felt the challenge, the inspiration. The event came to a fitting climax as three young men, Kieran, John, and Gideon, were baptised. As they rose, dripping and exhilarated, from the water it seemed to symbolise not only their new beginning as disciples of Jesus, but a beginning for a new generation. A Jesus generation. JL
“My highlights were praying for a backslidden lad on the first night, seeing him praise God again, lifting his arms and giving his heart to God again – that was beautiful!”
PETE, CLAUDIA, NORTHAMPTON Jesus Life Three/2008 Page 26 25-27.indd 26
“I think I’ve understood from RAW that to get to know God, you should show that you are serious about following Him first, and to do this you should sacrifice something so He knows how much you love Him.”
The climax of the event: gathering round the baptisms at RAW
Being ‘real and wild’ means being honest about everything you do and having a real faith. It’s focusing on God, listening to words that Jesus said, not weird doctrines.”
“RAW is the rising generation getting together and carrying on the vision. It’s great for young people to come along and see that church isn’t boring, it’s full of life, full of youth, it’s got a vision, it’s going somewhere, and it’s attractive.”
ESTHER, LONDON www.jesus.org.uk 17/09/2008 16:22:43
A moment of commitment at RAW
“Being ‘real and wild’ is Jesus dying on the Cross for my sin, conquering death, giving me life and strength in my life – that’s the greatest thing ever.”
BEN, DAVENTRY www.jesus.org.uk
“At RAW I’ve learnt so much more about God, I feel like I have gone deeper with Him, and it’s been a powerful time for me.”
“I’ve really enjoyed the atmosphere generally, the open-heartedness. I could go to everyone, talk to them, and just relate to them. I also enjoyed the workshop about “giving your all” because I don’t hear that kind of thing very often; it was very clear, very direct.”
“RAW means friendship and love DON’T to me, just MISS... being with people that I know care about me.” 6, 7, 8, August 2009 RE E TH KIRSTY, E B
Jesus Life Three/2008 Page 27
Mary Davis describes “covenant sisters”, a weekend spent exploring what it means to be women of God today.
Forever Sisters IT’S FRIDAY night and we arrive at Honeycomb Grange, a big old Jesus Army house somewhere down a winding, leafy driveway in the heart of Northamptonshire. Many of us are hungry and tired. For some reason I feel slightly nervous – and also expectant. There’s something potent about scores of young women who have all chosen to live “covenanted” to one another and to God. A bond of love, through no matter what, for better, for worse. Yet as more and more women are arriving, we begin to relax together. There’s a buzz of chat as we eat, before one of our leaders, Vanessa, brings things together. “How it is good as women of God to strengthen one another, to up build one another,” she says. “We have all been chosen by God to further His church in this age, so it is important for us to understand and realise our value and potential.” As the evening continues, there’s plenty of such inspiration before it draws to a late close around a bonfire, hot chocolate and all. Saturday is a beautiful sunny day, so we all pile outside for activities exploring what it means to be a “perfect godly sister”. Seems a bit out of anyone’s league? It starts to sink in that within us all, when all our different qualities are combined and we stand together, we do indeed have all the qualities and attributes of this “perfect
Learning in quietness: young sisters listen intently
godly woman”. It’s not about going it alone – we’re in this together. Then another leading young woman, Lizbeth, talks of evangelism and sharing faith “in a man’s world”: how do we do this? She works with the homeless – and often feels inadequate for the job; but God has placed within her a deep compassion that fuels an inner fire. With it she must face all odds to step out into a very “male” scene. Another, Belinda, talks of being a pioneer and living in the heart of London in the building site that is now the latest Jesus Centre (see page 14). I sit and listen. I see and hear women of strength, of godly passion, women that have learned that inner strength isn’t about scrapping to be picked or bitching to be heard – or even some over-subservient submission; it’s about humble use of talents and deep peace and a God-given fearlessness to “go wherever and do whatever” for the kingdom of God. At the end of the weekend, my overwhelming feeling is that of belonging to an alternative culture: no “nightclub rules” here! We want to help the next person up to the top first – then they can lift us up. We’re looking out for each other, serving each other. We’re in this together. “Covenant sisterhood” is definitely a beautiful thing. JL
Inner strength isn scrapping to be p bitching to be he Inner strength isn’t about scrapping to be picked or bitching to be heard
Jesus Life Three/2008 Page 28
RADICAL BITES Love: the laid-down life
HAVE YOUR SAY: email: firstname.lastname@example.org Read the ebook at http://www.jesus.org.uk/kingdommanifesto.pdf
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annoying the neighbours (the British gospel). Love is tough and it is radical. Love shares all its possessions and all its life. In case we haven’t got the full impact of what he is saying, the apostle John spells it out for us straight away: “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:17-18) How is the love of Jesus Christ to be demonstrated to a watching world? When the people who bear His name demonstrate His love by sharing all they have and laying down their lives for each other. JL
EW TESTAMENT love has little to do with warm glowy feelings and nothing to do with soft-focus photography. The focus of the New Testament is, in fact, fairly sharp: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” (1 John 3:16) Let’s get to the real issue
Love is tough and it is radical. Love shares all its possessions and all its life.
here. If you lay your life down for someone then you put everything you are and everything you have at their disposal. It’s not a case of, “I’m free on Wednesdays at nine and I can lend you a tenner,” it’s a case of, “I will be with you always and everything I have is yours”… Hang on – I will be with you always? Everything I have is yours? Sounds like marriage – the kind “made in heaven”. Well, yes. Love, true love, is loyal and true, come what may. It cannot possess what the one loved does not have. The nature of love is to give, to share, to unite. Time to forget the notion that love is being nice and not
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NCCC Postcards, set of four designs, £1 by post Jesus Revolution, new design. Red garment, size XS-XXL. Tee £9.99/Hoody £22.99 Multiracial Church DVD - £5.99 Healing DVD - £5.99 Navy cagoule with printed red cross, size S/M or L/XL, £17.99 Navy cap, beige trim, embroidered red cross: £4.99 Create Community, new design: royal tee, sky hoody, M,L,XL,XXL. Tee £10.99/Hoody £23.99 Jesus Life Three/2008 Page 29
“I share my life with people who have the same vision and love for Jesus as me. I challenge you to this call. I couldn’t imagine living any other way.”
“I’m going to stick it out, living in Christian community.”
Naomi/16 “I’m radical for Jesus because everything else is second-best and I don’t want to be boring. I know God’s love – if He can love me, I can love anyone.”
“Doing the dishes makes me radical for Jesus. And not worrying about how I look.”
E G A N E TE ICALS D A R
pop ves to a l s d re an who a clones , e a l i p d o e m d. g pe gers: e youn om the crow s e Teena h t t t fr e? No nd ou a t s cultur o ined t determ
“I wear my cross to show people I am privileged to be a disciple of Jesus.”
RADICAL adjective 1 (especially of change or action) relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough forming an inherent or fundamental part of the nature of someone or something 2 characterized by departure from tradition; innovative or progressive advocating or based on thorough or complete political or social reform representing or supporting an extreme or progressive section of a political party 3 relating to the root of something 4 [USU. AS EXCLAMATION] N. American, informal very good; excellent: Okay, then. Seven o’clock. Radical! origin from late Latin radicalis, from Latin radix, radic- ‘root’.
“I hear what God says and choose to follow Him, which sometimes means not doing what my mates do. I know following God is worth more.”
Jesus Life Three/2008 Page 30
“I don’t hide my beliefs. I always testify to my faith!”
“I wore my red cross top to college. It sparked a crowd-drawing conversation about God in the corridor…”
“I want to succeed in things of God such as working things out in Christian community and not joining the rat race!”
“I am up for anything God throws my way. I could rave and talk about being a Christian for days on end.”
Boiling with rage and bubbling with excitement - Jesus Life hears from mJa members, Antony Schelts and Amy Williams.
Injustice Rant INJUSTICE makes me rage. Like the woman who is a member of my church from Cameroon. She is seeking asylum in this country. Abusive family members there are threatening to kill her. But – she doesn’t match up to “Home Office criteria” so she is being threatened with being kicked out of the country and deported back to Africa – and in danger of violence or death. That’s Britain’s justice. She’s not alone. I have many other friends who are asylum seekers, some due to having a Christian faith – they have left their own country because they fear for their life. They’re not allowed to convert to Christianity from their religion of birth. If they do they will be killed. I know these people. I can
Amy Williams see that Jesus is real in their life. But again they don’t meet the set criteria of what a “Christian” should be like (one was asked in court what the names of the 12 disciples were – I mean: do you know? Apparently that’s how we prove whether someone is a Christian or not). They are refused permission to stay and they live in fear that they will get kicked out of the country. Of course, injustice can be on a much smaller scale than the Home Office. I can still remember getting picked on and excluded by some at school because of my size. I was different. Any singling out and persecution of the powerless – from the school corridor to the corridors of power – it’s all injustice and I hate it all.
Antony Schelts HAVE YOUR OWN RANT OR RAVE: www.jesus.org.uk/forum www.jesus.org.uk
Freedom Rave “…if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36) WHEN YOU become a Christian, you realise what it really means to be free. I was brought up in a Christian home, but before I’d really made the decision to accept Jesus for myself, I was quite shy and selfconscious. Jesus broke through that. When I received the Holy Spirit for the first time, I was filled with a new confidence and began to discover the kind of person that God had really intended me to be. Because we can give Him our worries and trust Him for everything we need, it gives us a freedom from worldly cares. It’s so refreshing, so releasing to be able to surrender to Jesus and be free from your old nature, to have your sins washed away.
I’ve seen people completely changed by God’s power: they’ve been freed into the character that God really wants for them. I’m someone who naturally worries about a lot of things, so the freedom I’ve found in God has given me a real sense of peace. Through freedom in God I am able to not worry about what people around me think, not to look at myself and see what’s wrong with me, but to look upwards to God, to let His Spirit lead me where He will. We all still get insecure sometimes, but when we’ve found our place in the church and when we have a relationship with Jesus, we can find a true release. The amazing thing is that this freedom is available to anyone who accepts God into their life and is willing to trust Him enough to break out of all their insecurities. JL
Jesus JesusLife LifeThree/2008 Two/2008 Page 31
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